« PreviousContinue »
General McCall and Brigadier-General Ord, and the officers and men who were engaged under their commands, may be assured that Pennsylvania is not insensible to their martial virtue, and from them and their fellows, confidently looks for as many further illustrations of it as there shall be opportunities afforded them.” By order of
A. G. CURTIN,
Governor of Pennsylvania. A. L. RUSSELL,
General McCall published a congratulatory order, and caused to be read to his division the letter from Secretary Cameron and the order from Governor Curtin. The colors of the regiments that were engaged in the battle, were taken to Washington, and on each flag “Dranesville, December 20, 1861," was painted in golden letters.
OPERATIONS OF THE ARMY EAST AND WEST.
The effect of the battle of Dranesville-Blockade of the PotomacResignation of General Scott-McClellan appointed General-in-Chief of the National army-Situation on the Potomac-Other Departments, Capture of Ilatteras Inlet-Battle of Carnifex Ferry-Operations in Missouri-Change of Commanders in the West-Formidable preparations by Army and Navy-Capture of Port Royal—Burnside's expedition-Battle of Logan's Cross Roads-Capture of Fort Ilenry and Fort Donelson-Battle of Pea Ridge-The Merrimac-Naval engagements in Hampton Roads-The Monitor-Repose of the Army of the PotomacSpirit of the people-Mistaken policy-Army corps-President Lincoln's War Orders—The Army of the Potomac ordered to advance-Choice of route to Richmond-Evacuation of Manassas by the rebels-Advance of the Army of the Potomac-Embarkation for the Peninsula, Advance on Yorktown-Siege and Evacuation of Yorktown-Battle of Williamsburg—Advance to Chickahominy-Battle of Fair Oaks-Detachment of McDowell's Corps- March of the Reserves to Hunter's Mills—"Smoky Hollow”—March to Alexandria-Hard march and stormy night-Preparations for a new Campaign—The First Corps moves to ManassasScenes on the Bull Run battle-field-Paymaster and sutler in campTricks of trade-Advance to Catlett's Station-Capture of Fredericksburg-Colonel Taggart's treatment of guerrillas-McDowell desires to advance from Fredericksburg-Promotion of Colonel Bayard and Lieutenant-Colonel Owen Jones—The First Corps ordered to march on Rimlumond-President Lincoln at Fredericksburg-McDowell's advance within eight miles of McClellan's army-The recall-Jackson's raidMcDowell's troops sent to the Shenandoah-Bayard's Cavalry and the Buckiail battalion pursuing Jackson-Harrisonburgh-Gallant conduct of Bucktails—Capture of Lieutenant-Colonel Kane and Captain Taylor --Battle of Cross Keys-Escape of Jackson.
THE battle of Dranesville with its victory gave to the Pennsylvania Reserve Corps an honor and a name, which extended throughout the country, and were reported in every household. For many weeks, during the dreary winter that followed, the camps at Langley were visited by distinguished citizens and public officers at Washington; and great numbers of people from Pennsylvania made the journey to Camp Pierpont, especially to see and congratulate the soldiers, who, by their gallant conduct, had honored the nation and afforded so much pleasure to every loyal citizen in the country.
When the cold weather set in the men constructed cabins of logs and earth, and covered them with the army tents, to shelter themselves from the winter storms. No orders had been issued by the general-in-chief for the army to go into winter quarters, but most of the regiments had voluntarily settled themselves in comfortable camps, satisfied that the Army of the Potomac would remain in front of Washington till spring. The enemy employed his energies during the winter in the construction of fortifications and batteries on the Potomac river, below Washington; on commanding heights, he erected batteries for the purpose of obstructing communication with the Capital, and several times during the winter the river was effectually blockaded.
On the 1st of November, 1861, President Lincoln accepted the resignation of the veteran hero, Brevet Lieutenant-General Winfield Scott, who, on account of his extreme old age, and feeling himself to be physically unable to conduct the campaign against the conspirators, resigned his commission as commander-in-chief of the United States army. On the same day, Major-General George B. McClellan was appointed to the command of the army, and immediately addressed himself to the labor of organizing the forces on the Potomac. In the many days, weeks and months of inaction that ensued, a magnificent army was formed, which afterwards became the engine of tremendous power, that in its onward march crushed the rebellious hosts in the East. The rebel leaders were not less active in their preparations for the terrible trials of strength which they knew must sooner or later be made in Virginia. During the whole of the autumn and winter, the hostile armies on the Potomac, numbering, in the aggregate, not less than four hundred thousand men, stood, facing each other with threatening looks, but neither venturing to strike a blow. The Potomac was blockaded below Washington, the Baltimore and Ohio railroad was destroyed west of Harper's Ferry, and opposite the centre of the Union army, the rebel flag floated most of the time within sight of the Capitol in Washington. After the battle of Dranesville, the skirmishers along the line assumed a petty character productive of no advantages to either party. For seven months the army remained stationary on the plea, that it needed organization, drill and better weapons; that the mud in the roads was so deep that it was impossible to make a sucessful advance, and that military strategy required that the Army of the Potomac should remain in repose, until movements, essential to the success of the campaign, should be executed in the South and West.
In other departments of the army and in the navy, there was more visible activity, and the attention of the people was for a time diverted from the army in front of Washington.
On the 29th of August, the military and naval expedition under General Butler and Commodore Stringham, after a bombardment of two days, captured the Confederate works commanding latteras Inlet, the entrance to Pamlico Sound, in North Carolina. The enemy's works were Fort Clark and Fort Hatteras. At their capture, thirty-four pieces of cannon, one thousand stand of arms and a quantity of provisions fell into the possession of the National forces. Three Con. federate vessels with valuable cargoes of coffee, provisions, cotton and ammunition, also became the prizes of the victors. After having endured a severe shelling from the fleet at a range of two and a half miles for two days, Colonel Martin, Major Andrews and Commodore Barron, of the Confederate service, with all their forces, numbering six hundred and thirty men, surrendered unconditionally, and were made prisoners of war. In this engagement the United States
forces suffered no loss. The Confederates lost four killed and eighty wounded.
The battle of Carnifex Ferry, which closed the campaign in West Virginia, was fought on the 10th of September. General Rosecrans overtook the rebel General Floyd with his army strongly intrenched in a position near the ferry on Gauley river. The rebel force was five thousand strong and had sixteen field pieces in position; the intrenchments were inaccessible on either slank and on the rear; the front was masked with dense forest and thicket. At three o'clock in the afternoon, General Rosecrans attacked the enemy's works with a brigade of Ohio troops; the battle raged with great fury until darkness put an end to the contest; the attacking party slept on their arms the whole night within a short distance of the enemy. During the night General Floyd evacuated the position, and stole away with his force across the river and destroyed the bridge. He abandoned all his trains and camp equipage, his private baggage and the baggage of his officers, his ammunition and cattle, and a number of Union prisoners captured by the Confederates at Cross Lane. The National forces lost fifteen killed and seventy-five wounded.
In Missouri a petty warfare was carried on that extended over the whole State. General Fremont, who had been assigned to the command in the West, with an energy unequalled in other departments, was organizing a powerful army, with which he expected to drive the enemy from the States west of the Mississippi. Ile at once attacked the the enemy in his most vulnerable point by declaring in a proclamation, that “ The property, real and personal, of all persons in the State of Missouri, who shall take up arms against the United States, and who shall be directly proven to have taken active part with the enemies in the field, is declared to be confiscated to the public use; and their slaves, if any they have, are hereby declared freemen." In issuing this proclamation, General Fremont was just ten months in advance of the nation's representatives at Washington,